Description & Technical information

This large oil sketch is a study for what was perhaps Pierre-Victor Galland's most significant commission for a private residence; the decoration of the Hôtel Cail, on the rue de Lisbonne in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. Built by the architect Christian Labouret for the industrialist Jean-François Cail, the Hôtel Cail was constructed between 1863 and 1865. Much of the painted decorations of this hôtel particulier were by Galland, while the sculptural decoration of the interior was entrusted to Pierre-Edouard Charrier (1820-1895), who also worked at the Louvre. Galland painted seven ceilings, twelve overdoors and a dozen panneaux décoratifs for the Hôtel Cail, which since 1926 has been the town hall of the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

This oil sketch is a preparatory study for L'Astuce, one of twelve decorative panels painted by Galland for the Hôtel Cail. The panel was originally placed in the centre of the grande salle of the Hôtel but is now lost. (The remainder of Galland's decorations for the Hôtel Cail remain in situ today.) A sketchy drawing of a female nude in black and white chalk, in the collection of the La Piscine - Musée d'Art et d'Industrie André-Diligent in Roubaix, may be a first idea for the figure in the present work.

Period:  1850-1900, 19th century
Origin:  Switzerland, France
Medium: Oil, Black chalk underdrawing, paper laid down on board
Dimensions: 72 x 37.7 cm (28³/₈ x 14⁷/₈ inches)
Provenance: The posthumous Galland studio sales, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 19-20 April 1894 or Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 13-15 May 1895 (with the artist's atelier stamp [Lugt 1197] in red ink at the lower right).
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints